Bruins Grades: Riley Nash and Sean Kuraly
Photo Credit: NHL.com
Sorry hockey fans, but with the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final, we are officially in the offseason.
The wait for NHL hockey may extend into early October, but it gives us plenty of time to reflect of the 2017-2018 season.
This means we have plenty of time to take a look at another pair of Bruins forwards as a part of our series of Bruins grades!
Today we will be doing a brief evaluation of two of Boston’s depth centers, Riley Nash and Sean Kuraly.
Player: Riley Nash
Regular Season Stats: 15 goals, 26 assists, 41 points, +16
Post Season Stats: 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, -3
Center depth often makes the difference between a first-round exit and winning the Stanley Cup, and while the fourth line could use some work, the Bruins have a solid top three.
Riley Nash is far from being an elite player, but he is a strong enough presence up the middle to be a factor when Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci need a rest.
The third liner is far from being a superstar, but he helped jump-start some solid offensive rushes throughout the year. The third and fourth lines saw quite a bit of shuffling as the year went on, so it’s nice to see Nash put together a much better second year in Boston.
He battled a couple injuries as the postseason came around so he, unfortunately, wasn’t as productive in the playoffs, but he still managed to pull together an all-around solid campaign.
He never managed to find a role in Carolina, but if he keeps up the pace he set in 2018, he may find himself a role on this team even after the young guys take over.
Player: Sean Kuraly
Regular Season Stats: 6 goals, 8 assists, 14 points, -5
Post Season Stats: 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, -5
Sean Kuraly is a fourth line center. One doesn’t need to do any expert analysis to know that—simply looking at his numbers will give that away.
The Bruins saw some resurgent depth in 2017-2018 and it was a big part of why they were so good. Kuraly, unfortunately, was not a key contributor in that resurgence.
Boston’s third and fourth lines struggled mightily in the playoffs despite regular season success, and Kuraly was no exception. He doesn’t deserve any hardcore criticism, it isn’t as though he is the one who doomed the team, but he still failed to set himself apart.
Kuraly is a nice guy to have around in case somebody goes down with an injury, but he isn’t the answer on the fourth line.